Golden State coach Mark Jackson‘s job is probably on the line Saturday in Game 7 against the Clippers, just as it was in Thursday’s Game 6, which the Warriors won to avoid elimination. Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob, whose desire to quickly contend and fondness for other coaches is reportedly the impetus behind many of the rumors surrounding Jackson, insisted to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports that he’s yet to make up his mind about the team’s coach.
“Honest to God, that’s the media that is doing all this,” Lacob said. “There is nothing going on until after the season. I refuse to let anyone talk about that. We don’t talk about it. We haven’t had that discussion. Everybody in the entire organization is reviewed after the season and we make decisions.”
Warriors players have rallied around Jackson ever since a report in March indicated that he had sought openings on rival teams and presided over dysfunction in the locker room. Jackson this week strongly denied a story that he asked Warriors adviser Jerry West not to attend practices, the latest tempest to arise in Golden State. Jermaine O’Neal is among Jackson’s most outspoken supporters, but the 18th-year veteran gets the sense a coaching change is about to happen, as Sam Amick of USA Today reports.
“You get the feel that no matter what happens, our coach won’t be our coach next year,” Warriors O’Neal said. “You just get that feel. But we are willing to give all we’ve got for this group, for that coach, and hopefully whatever that will and whatever we’ve given is good enough to take us as far as we should go.”
Jackson has one more season left on his contract, and though he briefly engaged in contract extension talks with the Warriors last summer, the two sides made little progress. It seemed Jackson’s bosses were the target of some of the coach’s remarks after the game Thursday, Amick observes.
“I know there are people that want to speed up the [growth] process,” Jackson said. “[But] this is who we are. Part of the process is going through things, learning how to be consistent. I’m proud of my guys. It’s been an incredible, incredible ride. Now against a three‑seed with two of the top 10 players in the world and a future Hall of Fame coach [Doc Rivers], we are going to Game 7 in spite of all the sideline music. And I like my chances, because I’ve got a group of guys that want to do whatever it takes to win.”